I wanted to continue my first post on being an effective consultant with this — the sequel. What I mentioned before greatly hinges on the ability to quickly learn but adaptation and becoming a SC Ninja is more than learning. Another attribute and key ingredient to being an effective consultant is blending in, too. I mentioned “blending in” earlier but want to touch on this a bit more.
To be an effective consultant, supply chain or otherwise, you have to be able to adapt. As a Supply Chain Ninja, I have to be a chameleon… to be able to blend into my surroundings and new engagements. Otherwise, you end up sticking out like a sore thumb and you don’t pick up new projects quickly. You must be able to adapt and to learn on-the-fly. This… this is the key to being an effective Supply Chain Ninja.
One example of this:
I had one project with a Major Steel Tube Producer and Manufacturer. The client was looking for operational and systemic improvements in the warehouse co-located within its steel mill. However, I had limited experience in the steel industry. As a project team, we were completely transparent with the Client’s Executive Team in our relative limited experience in the steel industry; however, we had a plethora of experience and qualifications in warehouse operations.
To be effective and deliver exceptional results, we utilized our past experiences to relay warehousing’s core concepts. Nuances always exist that differentiate client to client and project to project. In the end, in warehouses and other business processes, core concepts are the same and “portable”… a pick’s a pick, a bin’s a bin, and picking strategies are crucial to the operations.
As effective Supply Chain Ninjas, each team member was able to pick up the critical elements of the steel company and industry while marrying key warehouse concepts to identify the areas of opportunities in a relatively short time frame. In the end, we partnered with the key stakeholders to deliver recommendations for bundling (picking and loading) strategies and integration points for a warehouse management system implementation.